Take this study to learn how to deal with pain so that bitterness doesn’t take root.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31,32).
Cathy had been deeply hurt by her father’s rejection. When the opportunity came for her to move away, she took it. I can now forget about my father’s rejection, she thought, and get on with my life.
But Cathy discovered that bitterness is like a sliver. If left alone, it will fester and get worse and worse. It will poison us and all our relationships including our relationship with God. We must release the hurt to Jesus. We must let Him pull out the sliver. How? By confessing the sin of bitterness to God and to the person who hurt us. Only then can God heal us of the hurt.
At first, Cathy found this most unfair. “He’s the one who hurt me,” she said. “He ought to be the first one to ask for forgiveness.” But he didn’t. Cathy began to realize that if she wanted to grow in her relationship with God, she’d have to make the first move. She’d have to ask her father to forgive her. She grabbed a pen and began to write, ”Dear Dad, I want to ask you to forgive me. I’ve had resentment in my heart towards you, and I know I’ve hurt you. I love you, Cathy.”
“Something happened to me that day while I was writing the letter,” she said. “Something unclean and ugly left me, like I had pulled the plug on sink full of dirty water. I didn’t feel angry toward my dad anymore. And for the first time, I could actually feel God’s love for me.”
A month later, her father responded with a letter asking her to forgive him. The healing of a relationship had begun. Even if her father had not responded favorably, Cathy would still have benefited. Being free of resentment, she could now grow in love and confidence towards God, herself, and other people.
Do you have resentment and bitterness in your heart? The Bible says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger.” How? By turning it over to Jesus. Not once or twice, but as many times as it comes to mind. Eventually, you will be free of the hurt and compassion will take it’s place.
Lord Jesus, I give you this hurt and bitterness. I do not want to carry it anymore. I want to forgive the person who’s hurt me just as You have forgiven me. I want to be a channel of your love. Amen.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP: What do you do when church hurts?
PS. This story is told in He Raised Me Up To Stand on Mountains You can order it here.
Questions: Is there someone in your life that you carry resentment towards? What will be your first step in order to get rid of the bitterness?
About the Author Helen Grace Lescheid